Can my charges be reduced?

By Jonathan Blecher on June 17, 2022

You’re facing serious criminal charges, and you don’t really think that you can totally avoid a conviction – but you may have hope of seeing your charges reduced. Reduced charges (especially when they take an offense from a felony to a misdemeanor) can still benefit you when it comes to sentencing and the overall impact on your life.

Below are some instances where the prosecution can reduce the charges against you.

You’ve negotiated a plea deal

Sometimes, a plea deal involves pleading guilty or no contest to lesser charges in exchange for a lenient sentence. After accepting a no contest plea deal, you will likely end up with reduced charges compared to what you initially faced.

There is insufficient evidence to support the higher charges

For a conviction, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence against you is insufficient to meet that threshold for the higher charges, but it is enough to convict you for a lesser offense, the prosecution may opt for that to reduce the chances of a not-guilty verdict.

For instance, if the prosecution cannot prove your drunk driving charges but have evidence to show that you were driving recklessly, they may go with an assured conviction (or a withhold of adjudication) on the lesser charge.

You’ve shown a willingness to cooperate

In some rare instances, law enforcement may need your help to solve other crimes or go after “bigger fish.” If you cooperate with the police by testifying or providing the necessary assistance, the charges against you may be reduced or even entirely dismissed.

A sound defense can help you get the best possible outcome for your case, whatever that may be, so don’t commit to anything until you fully understand your legal options.

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